i decided to get the blank, printable shrinky dinks so that i could print out the kids' names and let oliver color them. punch a hole, shrink them, stick a ribbon through the hole, and sew them inside some wax paper (my original stolen idea, from martha stewart via, i believe, notmartha). hey, what's so hard about that.
i made several trips to michael's to purchase three packs of shrinky dink sheets, a gigantic pack of sharpies, clear nail polish, and several rolls of ribbon. and then it all started falling apart.
i couldn't figure out from the shrinky dinks packaging nor their website if you could color the printable sheets. i made a test page and felt like i was going to pass out from cancer with the smell of it. i thought there was some limited success using the sharpie, but when i applied the clear cancer polish to seal it, it actually just washed the marker straight off. so if you ever need to get sharpie off of something, especially a #6 piece of plastic...
and then, i couldn't find an easy way to punch a hole that would shrink down to the right size and not look like a rat had chewed on it. i scoured the little decorative hole punching section, but nothing.
i finally let go of my shrinky dinks dream and printed the names out on paper. i forget why it was we were having to wait until the last possible moment to assemble all of this. i think i was experiencing several busy days with work. anyhow, i lucked out and had a break from work after school and it was sweatshop time. oliver was like some kind of crafting master, considering the speed with which he colored the 26 name tags and cut them out. i was busting a gut over at the sewing machine and crossing my fingers that the wax paper business was going to work out. i cut out a stack of wax paper rectangles, loaded up the turquoise thread and began sewing a star-shaped vegan gummy into each. i would punch a hole, have oliver choose a length of ribbon and then leave him to tie on the name tag while i went back to sewing. it was a harried couple of hours, but oliver hung with it, producing minimal whining.
the next morning, i packed oliver and the five hundred valentines up and hauled them all to school. brian was taking the day off to begin his valentine/birthday three day weekend extravaganza. he even signed up to volunteer at the kiddie party. he was at the card stamping table and boy howdy did violet appreciate that. i kept trying to clean ink off her hands, but it was futile. no one knows what happened after the party. no one.
the bag oliver made to catch all his valentines received.
friday, i finally, barely made it with oliver to one of my nephew's basketball games before the season ran out. i think that was the night he decided to quit the team for next year because his coach's attitude is a giant sack of shit. but oliver had fun running around on court after. dylan was so bummed, he barely looked at us on his way from the locker room to the bus that drove them down the road to their school. we waved as the bus rolled by. they have tinted windows on those things these days, so we had no idea if he was seeing us. he texted his mother to have her run to our car to say goodbye for him. kids. technology.
saturday was our day off from celebrating. no one knows what happened on saturday. no one.
sunday was brian's birthday. i guess he's 37 now. jesus christ. no wonder he acts like such an old man. if the shoe fits, put on your cranky pants and stay in for the night every night forever. to celebrate, he chose to ride the miniature rails at forest park in fort worth. we had never been, so it was an adventure. sort of. the park is huge and there were horses walking around and the trinity, or whatever river goes through fort worth, ran alongside the park and there were all these awesome train trestles just right there and not so high up and even a duck/goose pond. we managed to not go to the playground, which is good because it was swarming, teeming, with little people and there was this horrifyingly tall climbing rock with all these kids crammed on top and jostling into one another and i guarantee you there would have been an old lady out there having a heart attack if oliver had climbed that thing and the old lady would have been me.
we walked down to the tiny depot and stood between two sets of tracks trying to increase our chances of making the next train. oddly, this depot only sold sno-cones and no tickets. you had to shove your way on to the train and ride to the other depot and buy your ticket. honor system, i suppose.
we made it on the next train and it was a lovely little trip, not quite as treacherous as austin's zilker zephyr, but there were touches of treachery here and there. we rode over that river. there were guard rails there. we rode over this very steep crevasse. there were no guard rails there. i don't know about you, but if i'm going to tumble from a tiny train, i'd rather it be into water than on to a faraway pointy rock. in case someone's taking surveys about how to spend limited funds on miniature railroad safety.
the kids were mostly good on the train. violet got ornery and enjoyed kicking the metal panel in front of us and kvetched a bit and maybe tried to jump from the train, but that's pretty status quo with a 19 month old. you know how they can be. suicidal and just plain incorrigible at parties.
we walked back to the car on the river side of the park road to distract oliver from the playground. we found heaps of the world's largest acorns, which oliver took to school for show and tell the following week.
the birthday dinner took place at spiral diner, fort worth. i busted an unexpected gut on the philly cheesesteak with pbr. oliver had the daiya grilled cheese and acted like it was poison-laced poison because it was not made with almond cheese. violet had the tofu scramble and thought it was the best thing in the world for 10 bites and then she only wanted toast. oliver just about fell on the floor with want of violet's scramble and then wouldn't taste it. CHILDREN ARE SO FICKLE.
mommy had plenty of lunch for the next day.
it was one of those dining experiences where you kind of want to cry or lay on the floor under the table or just get up and walk out the door and keep walking down the street until your new life finds you. we got the hell out of there and had a pleasurable drive back to dallas. watched the sunset reflect on the skyline. a skyline that somehow now contains exceptionally large football players. i wonder if they left after the superbowl.
hail merry's miracle tart served as brian's birthday cake. whole foods made the vegan chocolate cake. we had to go back because i didn't think to get a piece for oliver. violet didn't get squat. i almost forgot to give brian his present. a promise of $50 toward a cigar box amp. i am not sure what the point of these are, but i sometimes decide not to question. okay, i think i questioned. it will likely turn into a guitar lesson anyhow.
monday was valentines proper. it was also oliver's winter break. yeah, i don't know either. i thought that was xmas.
i was apparently still frazzled from the week before and didn't realize until that morning that i had not prepared oliver's valentine candy thing yet. i somehow managed to get out the sewing machine and use it before any children regained consciousness. he was pretty pleased with it.
it was interesting to see how much oliver has developed, using violet as the yardstick. he was very careful about the placement of the stickers on his card and wanted to group like animals together or put them in their natural habitat. at the zoo. violet placed her stickers willy nilly and then tore them back up. it appears everyone was wearing stripes. ps: considering the animal-rights person handing out zoo-themed cards.. they were the only ones with stickers and i explained to oliver how the animals could step right out of their enclosures and wasn't that nice?
he even breakfasted on a toasted coconut marshmallow. animals in zoos, children eating sugar for breakfast, stripes going with bug prints. all rules out the window.
i believe i took children to the park that day. oh, i definitely did. coffee park. where the three of us walked up to the swings and were told by a mother that we were wearing the wrong color. all of us in green, we were.
here are our vday portraits. oliver has been experiencing resistance to having his photo taken, so he was on his own. looking like a xmas tree. i suppose i also looked like a xmas tree, thanks to my green jacket and healing zit. that other thing is not a zit, it is a sexy mole. i never understood the sexy mole right up on your lip thing. how about a hairy cyst erupting from my nostril? why not that?
i tried a clip in violet's hair. she only left it in for 30 seconds because i told her to go show daddy. i forget why she was crying after that, but the sad little tear is still on her cheek.
upon brian's return from work, we loaded up to go to our traditional valentine dinner at dream cafe. we arrived at the host stand and the man said on the side, did we know it was a fixed menu? and i was like, uh.. uh.. uh.. while i tried to align all the dietary requirements with invisible menu choices and then he said something like, it's $40 per person. and i turned on my heel and marched out of there and was disappointed they were fucking with our tradition. and our tiny playground where children could go away to. we went cosmic cafe instead. oliver calls it comics cafe. and silent cafe. i don't know why. children confuse easily. it's one of the things that make them fun on occasion.
it was pleasant, so we sat on the front porch. the lighting was nice. the children were nice enough. we survived. maybe even flourished a little. oliver tricked brian into taking him upstairs to the yoga room.
earlier in the day, i explained to brian that i had goofed and not made his vday present yet (okay... i still haven't). after everyone under the age of five retired for the night, brian presented me with chocolate, gummies, and a regifted massage ball thing. i figuratively slapped my forehead and remembered i HAD gotten gifts for brian and i went and got them. it was a bar of vegan, gluten-free, rice crisp-laced chocolate and a set of vegan, gluten-free peanut butter cups. while rooting around in the kitchen, i realized i had forgotten i had gotten a little bag of broken peppermint sticks with hearts in the middle for oliver. and then i slapped my face again because i had forgotten i had gotten a bag of ABCD crackers for violet. in other words, i was a bit of a mess. my mother later told me they had received my vday cards... the mommy one in the daddy envelope and the daddy one in the mommy envelope. i'm surprised they had gotten them at all since i had purchased them the monday before, put them on the kitchen counter and mentally believed that was all there was to it. i saw them days later and forgot AGAIN to mail them.
alzheimers. mark my word.